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GEO Year Book 2003  
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Fisheries

Data published in 2003 show trends in marine fish catches for the period 1991–2001 for selected SIDS for the Atlantic and Western Indian Ocean, Caribbean, and Pacific (Figures 1–3).

Figure 1: Marine fish-catches for the period 1991–2001 for selected SIDS in the Atlantic and Western Indian Oceans Figure 2: Marine fish-catches for the period 1991–2001 for selected SIDS in the Caribbean Figure 3: Marine fish-catches for the period 1991–2001 for selected SIDS in the Pacific

 

Bleached Anemones caused by ocean warning.
Source: Still Pictures

Although the catches of a few countries showed significant increases, most have been stable or have declined. Considering the general increase in fishing pressure, this may indicate that the fish stocks of these countries are already being exploited at or above their maximum sustainable levels, with little or no potential for further increases under current management regimes (FAO 2002). Levelling off or declining fish catches are significant in view of the projected increases in human population in SIDS, and the dependence of national economies and subsistence livelihoods on SIDS fisheries resources (see also section on Emerging Challenges).

Increased catches can also be a source of concern. For example, a record tuna catch in the Indian Ocean in 2003, which is about 100 000 tonnes greater than the sustainable limit, has prompted the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission to express concerns about depletion of tuna stocks in this region (Seychelles Nation 2003). According to FAO (2002), most tuna stocks are fully exploited in all oceans, including the Western Indian Ocean, and some are overfished or severely depleted.


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